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tv   Charlie Rose  Bloomberg  May 25, 2016 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT

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♪ >> from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." charlie: we begin this evening with the fight against isis and the operation to recapture the city of falluja. 15 iraqi soldiers were reportedly killed in the assault in the province. meanwhile, a kurdish led forth launched an offensive in syria on territories around raqqa. the operation is backed by u.s. airstrikes, and is aimed to put pressure on isis forces in their stronghold. joining me from washington is david ignatius. he is a foreign affairs columnist for "the washington
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post." he recently traveled to northern syria and iraq with the command of the u.s. central command, i am pleased to have him on the program. welcome. david: thank you. charlie: tell me about the trip and what you saw. this, as you suggested, the first time a centcom commander has done this in six years. david: this is a very unusual opportunity for me and three other reporters to travel with the general, the commander of centcom, in that role as overall supervision of the war in syria and iraq against isis. this is the first time since i think 2010, roughly, that a centcom commander has taken press with him. under general austin, a predecessor, that was out. they did not want the press tagging along. he decided the american public needs to know more about the wars, if people are going to understand and support them, so
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he decided to take us a long, not just to baghdad or kurdistan, but into syria. we were not allowed to disclose where we were going. we were not allowed to file anything until we had gotten out of the country, and we were in , jordan.-- amman it was a rare and unique chance to see u.s. military advisers on the ground in syria, working with the opposition, trying to build and launch against the islamic state in its capital. charlie: there are few journalists and columnists who write about foreign affairs as well as you do. the notion is, understanding the patient of information and context you have from that point, what did you learn? what was surprising and what was new? david: i have been covering the middle east off and on since 1980. i have been looking at this part of the world for a long time.
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it is the frustrations of trying to move forward in the middle east, familiar to me as all your viewers. what i saw on this trip first was the overwhelming power that the u.s. military can bring to bear, once it really gets organized and gets authority from the president. this campaign against isis has had i think a slow start, but you could see on the trip, it is finally really beginning to gear up. there are daily operations. i was in two huge operations rooms, where the screens, the display, the feeds from surveillance drones, monitoring of airstrikes, every operation taking place across the theater. that was the first thing, sense of u.s. military power. the second thing was the chance when we were inside syria at a u.s. training facility inside the country, to see the military advisers at work. these are just remarkable men
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and women. we are not allowed to see them. i can't really say that much about them, or even where they were, but these are amazing people living off the land. they are living rough. in simple places. they are working with tribal fighters. the syrian kurdish militia, the ypg. the fighters who over the last six months to a year have begun to really push isis back. it was a chance to see this and see the people who are doing it on behalf of the country. the final take away for me is the mishmash between the military part of this strategy and the political side, which i just found so many contradictory elements as i traveled through iraq, syria. we are working on basing this
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military campaign is political quicksand. those were the three things. looking at the military machine, the people who are doing this, trying to think through the and politics. charlie: what is possible before the obama administration ends in january? david: i think the obama administration has been accelerating its campaign in both syria against raqqa, and against mosul. there are very few people who think the clearing and securing of those places can be accomplished before obama leaves office. but i think obama, in part as a legacy issue, and as role in commander in chief, wants to push hard using the tools he has at hand. that is what i was able to see. the most interesting thing i
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found in iraq -- we will talk more about syria, but in iraq, i was just there on my own three weeks ago looking at the campaign against mosul. i saw a lot of setbacks in the north. on this trip i was able to see, in the euphrates valley that stretches from falluja, towards the jordanian border, there has been a lot of progress made. there was evidence i found that the tribal sheiks were very pragmatic, opportunistic, to be blunt. they are beginning to think isis may not be the winning bet. in classic fashion for tribal leaders, they are beginning, but our experts listed it for me. i know some of these tribes are beginning to flip. i thought that story in the euphrates valley was interesting.
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the battle for falluja that has been launched is some ways the trickiest. shiite militias, with the sunnis who are the primary residents of falluja, hated, but it will also involve sunni militia and the popular militia forces. watching how that plays out is going to be really interesting. it will tell us a lot about whether the campaign will work. charlie: and that is a political issue, obviously. david: it is a political issue. all the tricky issues on which ultimate success depends, are political. the military machine of the u.s. is now cranked up. it is powerful. if it has a solid enough political foundation, it will get the job done. i don't know if it will be by the end of the year, who can say what the precise timing is? like world war ii, you just know this overwhelming power, once started, will push forward. as long as there is a proper political basis of support, looking at the events of the last week in baghdad, you have had essentially riots inside the
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green zone and the heart of the government. it shows how fragile it is. a government who cannot control its capital is very fragile. if that government crumbled suddenly, all the military power, all the plans and operations i had a chance to look at, i think that will become a lot more difficult. charlie: when i saw the president in germany when he was going to saudi arabia and britain, and then germany, one of the things he said to me was that he was making a strong effort to bring support for the prime minister of iraq among the european allies, to give him as much help as they possibly could, to give him strength so , that he could go through this. he was facing not only challenges from outside and isis, but challenges from inside. david: what has happened interestingly in iraq is that
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, the shiite coalition has begun to really fracture. you can say that iran is having as much trouble as we did. the iranians used to be able to keep the shiites on the same page, and going the same direction. that over the last month or so has clearly begun to blow apart. abadi's government is very fragile. he has been much more cooperative with that the u.s., he has made a lot of the changes that we want. his problem is one we should have sympathy for. the iraqi people are fed up with the gross, overwhelming corruption of the government. abadi says he will try to fix this warlordism, and we will see if he has the political muscle to do that. for now, he has reached out to
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al sadr, the radical popular shiite leader, as kind of an ally in anticorruption. charlie: he is close to the iranians as well. david: the iranians are close to almost everyone in iraq. they work hard at play every side of the street. that said, they are having trouble. it is not in their interests that you have rioting in the green zone of the government that they are working with. i'm told, i haven't had first-hand reports, but people who talk with the religious leadership that many leaders are fed up. they just think the country is corrupt. they bought into the effort to build a new shiite led iraq, they believed in it they have , backed the government.
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one person said to me an interesting fact, that the religious leadership no longer delivers political sermons on fridays. they have pulled back. they have pulled back. the tradition has always been not so political. they got more involved in supporting the government. they may be pulling back. it is hard to know exactly what they think, except for they are fed up with what they are watching. charlie: i hear you talking about the americans. what interests me, is that people have questioned the president and suggested he was not in this fight. he clearly is now, as you suggest. is their criticism he has been too much a victim of incrementalism, and all of a sudden realized there is more at stake and he had more of an interest in providing a stronger effort?
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david: i think that the white house slow rolled this campaign for a long time. it has taken them a long time to authorize the level of commitment, the level of special operations forces in syria and iraq, the advisors on the ground, the forward deployment of people, they resisted that for a long time in terms of numbers and authorities. that is now changing. i think in ways we don't fully understand or know about, they are very aggressive operations now to go after to capture and kill operations to go after isis networks that could threaten the united states homeland and europe. there is much more of that going on than there was before. always thought the president is better as a covert an overt-in-chief than
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commander-in-chief. here's a president who can say i killed osama bin laden, and the head of the taliban. those were very tough operations, in pakistani territory. on that level, the president has been aggressive. he is allergic to syria. he has not wanted to do syria from the beginning. he found a level of commitment he is now comfortable with, which is training and deploying these ferocious syrian kurdish fighters. they are really the match for isis. i met the women's militia of the syrian kurdish group, the ypg, women who i was told by the suicide advisers, wear belts when they go into combat,
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because if they are taken prisoner, they know they will be turned into sex slaves, and so they would rather blow themselves up. they are remarkable fighters. they are remarkable fighters. talking to these women was a revelation. in that part of the world to see the women in trenches alongside the men, which is how it is said they fight, it is different. charlie: the coalition. how engaged is the rest of the coalition other than the united states and the kurds? david: the last stop on our trip was the airbase in turkey, where the turks have allowed the u.s. and other coalition forces to operate. i was told by the commander of the a-10 squadron, those are the sort of workhorse planes that are used to do targeting in syria, i was told there is a roughly equal coalition commitment there. i did not see the evidence of that, but i was told that on the record by the commander.
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they are there. the pattern of daily air operations over iraq and syria is pretty intense. when you go to these command centers, you can see the display and combat information across the theater, you can see it is a 24/7 operation. they are targeting these people everywhere. it is very tough and dangerous to be in isis right now. charlie: and the russians? david: the russians and remain the interesting x-factor here. the situation in western syria, along the coast where isis staged some horrific attacks this week, they managed to penetrate and blow up lots of car bombs. andsituation in aleppo
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damascus, the situation is chaotic. the russians have been trying to bolster president assad's forces in pushing back the islamic rebels on the al musra front. that is the al qaeda affiliate of isis. -- thatme of the groups battle space is very conflicted. i think both the u.s. and russians now are playing for some kind of diplomatic resolution. i think the russians are looking at this and realize what a bramble bush this is, and would actually like to see the diplomacy work, if they could find a way. charlie: and what is the way? david: in theory, the way is the geneva process that secretary of state john kerry and the russians have been working on, which is to get the opposition around the table, with elements of the syrian regime and the support of saudi arabia, iran,
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turkey, and all the feuding neighbors, and hammer out some kind of process for political transition. the problem is assad thinks he , is winning. why should he come to the negotiating table? he and his friends are more comfortable than they have been in years. why should they make concessions? so it has gotten stuck, and whether secretary kerry can do this, it is yet to be said. in the west i don't see a , strategy for military success. you need to get feuding factions together and go after isis. in the northeast area, there seems to be a more clear strategy led by the kurds, who the turks hate, but they are letting operations go forward. charlie: thank you so much. david ignatius, who just returned from syria and iraq. back in a moment. stay with us. ♪ charlie: we now turn to
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politics. recent polls show donald trump is competitive in the general election against hillary clinton as he unifies the republican party base. he has escalated his campaign tactics against clinton, on attacking bill clinton's monday character and raising questions about hillary clinton's record on women. meanwhile, the long primary
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battle with bernie sanders has hurt clinton's standing in the polls. on monday, donald trump met with senator bob corker amid rumors he might be a possible running mate. joining me now from washington is bob costa of the washington post. thank you for doing this. tell me where you think the trump campaign is at this moment, terms of their assessment of the general election to come? bob: the chum campaign at the moment is in a moment of transition but surprising ease. , there is a sense from trump tower that the money is coming in from the republican establishment. the party leadership is on board. they see the party base reflected in the polling. they are full board right now into the general election campaign. charlie: at the same time, they are launching these really escalating attacks against bill clinton. bob: they are. that comes from donald trump himself. i sat down with him a few days ago, and has been in touch with
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his top advisers. trump has for many years associated with people like roger stone, who dabbled in conspiracy theories. sometimes written books about it. a few weeks ago, donald trump had lunch with edward klein. a former new york times magazine editor. these are the people in his circle at this time. trump believes he will go really with no limits in the general election campaign, bringing up things from the 90's. some of those ugly political chapters that many people have forgotten or shelved. charlie: what does that say about donald trump to you? bob: what it says to me about trump is that this is a candidate who sees the general election, and victory on the horizon, but believes he has to battle to get there. he needs to bring up things that are not part of normal political conversation. i asked him about the 1993 death of vince foster to see where he was on that, and he said it was very suspicious.
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he called it very fishy. he said he will not make a central case in his campaign about it, but it is striking we have a republican nominee, a major party nominee who edges toward consideration some of these things. charlie: these kinds of opinions are held by roger stone and others, but not the vast majority of the political community. bob: they are not. you're exactly right. and the republican party, talking to consultants in washington, are already uncomfortable. but they sense trump has a strategy. it is not so much to have just in the argument on populism, but it is to destroy the clintons, sully their brand, bring up her negative numbers. charlie: will they go deeper and nastier? bob: i think trump has a lot of things on his radar. you look at all the accusations of sexual impropriety, and different relationships, even
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juanita broderick who accused bill clinton of rape in the 70's, these are part of a conservative conversation in the country. you see conservative radio host having these conversations this week. this is just a rising conversation, a bubble on the right that i think is about to burst into the heart of the general election campaign, because trump is encouraging it himself. charlie: right now, the clinton campaign and the former president and former secretary of state, are both in a sense, not ignoring it, but not trying to attack every attack against them. bob: that's right. they are not trying to relitigate it. they don't want to get in a position where they have to respond. speaking to clinton advisers and allies, they believe they have to show he is unqualified, and he's not ready for the white house. but they also don't have a candidate ready to engage moment by moment on social media, on the cable airwaves. their only concern on my reporting, is that the saturation by trump on cable,
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facebook and twitter could be a problem in the long run, because it dominates the national narrative. charlie: is that part of what trump understands about media? bob: he is running a media campaign. this is not a candidate who is -- he is having fund raisers, but he is not planning an all-out assault on the air. grassroots organizing does not matter so much. this is the first time we have ever seen a true media candidate, someone who is every day calling into reporters, going on social media, going on cable as much as possible. it's a totally different paradigm. charlie: and tweeting about everything before he goes to bed. bob: everything. and it is all hours a day. he wakes up, he dictates tweets. the thing he does every day, he reads every article about him. of course you can argue it is narcissism, and it is, but at the same time it is part of his strategy where he wants to be in the ecosystem of everything trump. and have his own voice be part of it.
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charlie: are you primarily covering him? is that your responsibility in the campaign? bob: i'm not a trump beat reporter. charlie: i know. but you are doing revealing articles along with bob woodward, in some cases about trump, not clinton. bob: clinton is not as accessible. i have always told clinton sources and advisers, i would welcome a phone call from her every day. trump just makes himself accessible. if you put in a request, and if he is game, it may take under one hour to get him on the phone. with trump, i have been covering him for two years, and even further than that. this is a candidate who lives on media. if you can come to him with the news of the day, he is usually willing to have a conversation. charlie: he's absorbed by media. bob: obsessed. this is someone who grew up politically and professionally in the tabloid culture of new york in the 1980's.
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i think that is often forgotten. this is someone who knew then how his public image with everything. it was everything for his companies and that is how he sees his brand. charlie: what else do you think he understands about media? bob: i think he understands as bad as one day can get, it is only a day. he is not rattled by something that consumes the new cycle on wednesday. he thinks thursday, he can have a tweet or call in and change the whole context and debate, within hours. this is someone who really sees media as something not always going to be focused on one specific story, but can move quickly. he understands that instinctively. charlie: i assume choosing a vice presidential nominee is one of the big decisions that he faces. can you tell us what his thinking is about that? bob: i think on cbs, they hit on what is happening. trump wants an insider. he thinks he actually can win this general election.
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if he wins, he doesn't have experience. i think the corker meeting was about foreign policy on paper. but you see someone like that, a committee chairman, he has insights on how capitol hill works. if he's not on the shortlist he is on the longer list. charlie: who else might be on the shortlist jeff sessions? , bob: i think so. but he brings credibility on populism, immigration, on conservative issues that trump already has. trump has often talked about kasich behind the scenes. he sees someone as kasich as having experience and could bring a swing state. you also have to look at another big state governor like rick scott who has been an ally. another person i'm hearing from trump associates is john thune, the senator from south dakota. someone from senate leadership, trump really like somebody can come in and work with mcconnell and speaker ryan. charlie: what is it that you
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think, and i know it is a broad question, what is it that you think we do not understand about donald trump at this juncture, even though we have been covering him every day, writing about him in every magazine and newspaper? he's been at the center of news coverage since the primary campaign began, if not earlier. bob: i think what is always misunderstood about trump is that he is not running as part of an ideological project. this is not someone who comes from the right. that is unusual in republican politics. what that means in this general election in my view is we have a candidate who does not play by the rules, and traditional republican politics. what he relishes is to fight. this is often underplayed with trump. he loves to fight politically, personally. he thinks he can outlast you, outpace you, he can be relentless and eventually he
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will win. if you read the biographies, that is how he is. that is how he is approaching the fight with hillary clinton. the relentless, go beyond the limit. charlie: why doesn't he release his taxes? it is not because of the audit. bob: it is certainly not because of the audit although that is the reason he cites. when you talk to real estate in new york, there is a sense that many real estate moguls rarely pay much in taxes. they are getting tax breaks, and are sometimes not paying much at all. his return could be very small. i think that is part of why he's uncomfortable with releasing them. charlie: he hasn't paid as much as people might think. bob: or maybe not at all. "the washington post" has done some reporting. earlier in the 80's, he did not pay much taxes at all. charlie: and that was the time he was not doing as well in business, and almost bankrupt.
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bob: that's right. it's also a question about his value and wealth. so much of his value and his billions are associated with his brand, which he values in the multi-billions. when it comes to actual liquid cash he has, to what his assets are worth, so much of it is in property. the tax returns, they don't think it is revealing of the scope of his fortune. that is why he is reluctant to do it. charlie: but the problem about that would suggest, when you go to financial institutions to borrow money, you have to have real facts. you cannot simply say, i am worth at this, and you have to believe me or say my brand is , worth this. you have to be able to prove that if a financial institution will lend you money. the real estate business is all about borrowing money to build buildings. bob: i couldn't agree more. he should release his tax returns. it is irregular for a major
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presidential candidate to not release his tax returns. the other thing trump has not answered is the question of what is the audit all about? has the federal government made a statement requiring a certain settlement? have they said how much he owes in potential back taxes? all these things are floating as questions. charlie: but my point is, you know him better. i want to ask him, what reporter understands him and he said you. what is your sense of this? bob: on the tax returns specifically? my sense is this is something he is not comfortable sharing. he has asserted himself for the ist 30 years as someone who a multimillionaire and he covets that position, and he doesn't think everyone understands his fortune and the extent of it. he thinks the tax returns are only a representative of a sliver of who he is. charlie: but it goes to the heart of his ego, and how he wants to be perceived, and how he has sold himself. bob: that's right. i think back to last summer,
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charlie, when he started to run for president, he released his financial statements. we got it first. he had his value, the trump name itself, at $3 billion. that was indicative to me of how stake he puts in his brand, how he think of himself and his fortune. charlie: most of the political people you know, are they increasingly political people regardless of what they thought in the past, regardless of political affiliation, whether they are strategists for one party or another? do they believe donald trump could win the presidency? bob: not just based on polling, but that is based on conversations with all insiders, democrats and republicans. what trump saw a year ago was a broken republican party, the institutional vacuum, that he
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has strolled into. and because of the concerns about globalization, and concerns with the republican base, they don't think the party is doing anything on immigration, and the economy, of frustration on the right with president obama, and add in his celebrity, he has consumed and taken over the party. he is running against a historically high democratic nominee in secretary clinton. there is a sense that clinton, she cannot make the case that trump is not qualified to be in the office, if she cannot make that case in the next five months, he has more than a shot of being the next president. that is a stunning reality for many in washington, but in this time of upheaval, we see the rise of the far right all across the globe. now there is a sense it could happen here, a trump presidency. charlie: but he's not an ideological guide, and you would not call him of the far right. he's simply a guy who has been able to persuade the far right to join him. bob: that is the important
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distinction. he did not come out of the grassroots. he associates with elements of the far right, he associates with conspiracy theorists. that element is there. at the heart of it, he is a businessman who has a nativist view, america first is his foreign-policy, he is anti-intervention abroad. that is a donald trump is. charlie: that is who he is and who he means to be. bob: and he loves to cut deals. whether he can cut a deal in washington, who knows? that is why paul ryan is so uncomfortable. ryan grew up in the conservative movement. he senses he is not one of the troops, not someone who thinks about reagan and jack kemp. charlie: bob costa, thank you for joining us. always a pleasure. bob: thank you. ♪ charlie: the newest production
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of "a streetcar named desire" transports the play to the 21st century and finds the cast performing on a transparent, revolving set. "the new york times" calls this version a wounding picture of communal loss. that takes place in brooklyn's saint ann's warehouse. joining me is the cast. i am pleased to have each of them at the table. welcome.
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how do you approach this, this character that a number of actors have, especially marlon brando? ben: i suppose it is about an act of forgetting. it was marked by kazan, by brando. it cast such a long shadow. benedict andrews, our director, said he wanted to explore the material in an out of time, and was interested in the returning soldier aspect. that seemed like a new door to unpack. charlie: is it a role you jump at? ben: i hadn't seen the film or the play, in at least 15 years. by rereading it, it is daunting on paper. the history is daunting. but upon reading it and talking with the benedict i felt like we , could find a new way in.
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charlie: is blanche daunting? gillian: i don't know about daunting. exciting, i think. i wanted to do this for 30 years. it seems like it took that long to realize the production. i trusted benedict enough from the things i had seen him direct in the past to leave everything at the door, and walk-in completely with fresh eyes and i'm really glad that i started with a clean slate. we immediately just started from word one, punctuation one, to dig into it, in a really forensic way. charlie: what is the difference in a good stage director and good film director? gillian: what i do know about benedict andrews is he is a very smart man.
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his interest is in the truth of whatever piece it is he is working with. whether he contemporizes it or not, we are interacting between the characters and what the text is telling us about truth. if it doesn't fly, then we adjust it. that is part of what the reincarnation is, just tweaking those little moments just to build the relationships. charlie: i think you said that stella was avoiding reality. vanessa: you know, it is easy to forget that they are sisters from the same place, and that they have experienced the same history. they're just taking different paths, and stella has run away in the same way blanche has and in an equally destructive
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situation. but it is more accepted by society. so in stanley she can avoid and run away, and deny the history. she doesn't mention, she does not tell them. i always hear it in the first scene, where are you from, blanche? it seems strange that her husband doesn't even know where stella is from. right from the beginning, i was aware that she had this history that she wasn't able to face, and wasn't able to confront. charlie: what is the set that is so revolutionary here? ben: we do it in the round, a rotating stage, constantly revolving in different speeds and different directions. is a transparent set, so there are no walls. is a very lean, stark, metal outline.
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charlie: what does it say about a play, that is 50 years old, and yet it is relevant if you put it in a contemporary setting? it says that it still speaks to all those issues that are part of the human experience, right? gillian: yes. it is fear, shame, guilt. charlie: embarrassment. in the way we all try to deny the truth of ourselves and our human nature to fight for one's own survival, whether it is stanley fighting for that or stella or blanche. tennessee talks about, i can never remember the words -- he talks about the abuse and belittlement of the tender. charlie: as good a playwright as
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tennessee williams is, you just look at the text and say, this is what i need. i don't need to go any further. gillian: further into what the text says, going into the past, based on what the text says, and obviously the history of that time of the south, and women's place in the world, and what was expected of females at the time and patriarchal society, particularly in the south at that time, is all informative. but the text is the thing. charlie: i grew up in the south, in north carolina. i have known people like the characters at every stage in my life. there's always someone who is a very strong woman, and always a woman who somehow is worldly in terms of her aspirations, and in terms of what she reads, what she wants to do. gillian: i think that potentially blanche had that, if it weren't for the course of
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events that happened. if it weren't for her falling in love with a gay man very young and being responsible, or feeling responsible for his killing himself, and what happened historically. if those events had not happened, she probably would have found a way to be a strong partner to someone. she is certainly outspoken enough in this incarnation of it, that even though she would have continued to be dependent upon people, i imagine she would not have held her tongue. ben: so much of this is about, trauma and post-traumatic stress, whether an event happens or not, it is how we cope. this play is so much about unpacking, how we hurt, how we deal with it, and push the wounds into each other. blanche is coming from a war, it seems. stanley is coming from salerno.
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the wounded warriors are meeting in a living room. vanessa: there's so much about -- there's a quote, a family is only as sick as the secrets it keeps. the inability to talk about or express the pain or the trauma and the repression from all three of them in different capacities, and the running away from it, is like a tsunami that catches up. you can't run. that is what the play is looking at. charlie: there is a reference of stanley as being apelike. you are smiling. gillian: blanche refers to him as being like an ape. charlie: and there is a story that you went and looked at silverbacks. the video of [laughter]
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then: the play touches on so many ideas it seemed like a fair , place to start. [laughter] the beginning of man. charlie: you went right to evolution. gillian: that's what blanche says. he is like an ape, like from the stone age. stanley kowalski, survivor of the stone age, he comes home every day with a package of meat. ben: and stanley does not like being called names. it is also a play of class. it is a play of magic and reality battling each other. it is also the battle of high-class, lower-class. having the opportunity to look at this and call it homework is not a bad life. [laughter] charlie: i will embarrass you. you said she's one of the most elegant and savage performers
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you have ever worked with. what does savage mean? [laughter] ben: there is a nimble quality and ferocity to being present. anything can happen, and staying in the game, you could not ask for anything better with a dancing partner, or a boxer. i'm very lucky with these two. charlie: do each of you know each other's lines, and do you have to? vanessa: i do now, i think. charlie: by osmosis. vanessa: it's funny, on this run, if any of us had forgotten things, which we don't anymore -- [laughter]
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i think it feels so supportive. gillian: i'm off stage once, when i'm in a bathtub. but i'm on a bathtub onset, so they are seeing it happen on the other side of the shower curtain. i realized how many times i actually do know your lines without trying to or realizing it. charlie: is a london audience different than the american audience? gillian: yes. charlie: how? [laughter] you don't want to tell me? vanessa: i prefer the american. they seem less ready to judge. it's so funny, actually. i just finished a play in london the week before and came over. i really understand the differences between the audiences.
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the relationship and dynamic between the audience and actors is like the arteries for the play. they become one animal. it's really incredible. it's amazing how the minority can affect the majority. a particularly vocal group can spread, and somehow they can really engage. that feels comforting, but sometimes they feel standoffish. for us, we are very sensitive. gillian: it's a very visceral production and very sexual as well. there is a scene where these two are making love on the bed, and floor. blanche is on the staircase. in london, i was aware of the fact that more of the audience was watching us on the staircase. in america, more of the audience
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is watching the two of them on the bed. in england, it was a little bit like, you know. charlie: does every good play affect you like it gives you an insight about life that you did not have? ben: it is a privilege to have been allotted time to meditate on a set material or practice it, or explore it. hearing the words every night, it feels like a prayer. the way someone can go on a mountaintop, or sit in a cabin, or out in the wilderness, we go in a dark room every night and consider the words in a tactile and visceral way. we may know each other's lines, but in many ways we try to forget them to hear them a new. charlie: and to hear the differences and nuances and everything else. is the audience affected by your mood and everything? gillian: by each other, and the exchange. vanessa: someone asked me, do you get bored?
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you can because every moment is new and every night something new happens. gillian: and i'm still finding stuff. vanessa: and saying, that is the way to say a particular line, or going back to the text, and realizing the punctuation is different than i had been saying it. charlie: is it better as a play than a film? gillian: i would say so. charlie: having said that, here is marlon brando in a scene from the 1951 film. [video clip] >> stella! >> you put that down and go to bed. you shut up. >> stella! [yelling] >> hey, stella!
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[end video clip] charlie: mr. foster. [laughter] ben: what a mug. charlie: a good-looking guy. ben: you can't beat that. you have to go a different way. [laughter] charlie: you don't want to be thinking about that when you go your way. how is this more sexy? is that the idea? gillian: one of the ways the director was thinking, and one escapes, theyella had that kind of relationship, very tactile. both women have found comfort through sex. i will let you speak for that aspect in terms of stella. the sexuality, the minute stanley and blanche are in the
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same room, it is tangible. blanche undresses purposely in front of the poker players, she's constantly flirting with stanley. and in this production, the guys have a very tangible and tactile sexual relationship that plays out through the whole thing. charlie: do you have to have some chemistry to do that or can you simply act? ben: i'm not that good an actor. we are very blessed on the set. charlie: people do say that. sometimes you watch a film, and people will say, there was nothing there, i could not feel like they were connected, how they were connected. as you said, the reverse of that, you can see it. ben: you have to promote yourself in certain ways. every night is new. it is fortunate to work with people that are appealing and energetic, and have a life
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within themselves. that is appealing. i prefer it when we have chemistry, it is less work for you to do when you don't have it. gillian: i was thinking about that recently, whether this particular version of it could have the impact on film that it does in theater. people leave in tears they , cannot leave their seat. i do not know whether a film version of this would deliver an audience to that same place. that is part of the tragedy of this, and the nature of this particular production. if you can't do that, then what is the point? the point is this moment of it here, live for the audience to experience. i always question whether it would translate. charlie: how would you put this opportunity against the other things you have done? gillian: this is probably the hardest.
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yes. i mean, she is supposed to be hamlet for women. it is. it is sometimes, at the beginning it certainly feels insurmountable. it feels impossible. until you get your rhythm and it, if the play can sit on your shoulders, and you are under it, that is terrifying. charlie: thank you all for coming. it is a pleasure to have you here. i can't wait to get to the theater. i don't have that much time, but i will get there. it is a magnificent production, and will be there until june 4. one silly question. is this story about james bond? am i looking at the next james bond? gillian: it was started by somebody creating a cool poster with me, and it has gotten a lot of attention. it means absolutely nothing at all. charlie: thank you. thank you so much. thank you for joining us. we will see you next time.
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♪ mark: i am mark crumpton.
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let's start with a check of your first word news. the head of the transportation security administration acknowledges wait times at airport security check point have increased significantly. but he told the house homeland security committee that more than 760 screeners will be hired by mid-june. >> clearly the summer travel season will be busy and the tsa and congress and travelers working together can improve the passenger experience while we maintain the security we need. mark: most screeners will be sent to airports in chicago, new york, los angeles and atlanta. a state department audit blames


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